The whole riding on the sidewalk issue brings up a parallel line of discussion: Bike lanes or not? Those who think cyclists must be treated as equals with motor vehicles maintain that bike lanes set up a divide between bikes and cars. They think bicycles should ride in traffic, obey the rules of the road, and be given the same courtesies as motorists.
Those for bike lanes argue that bikes and cars are not the same, because of the difference in mass. Many are probably less skilled riders. In their view, bike lanes are common sense solutions to a potential hazard.
As seen in the previous post, I would have preferred to have a bike lane available, and did not opt to take what I thought was a risk of riding in traffic.
One problem with the bike lane or not issue seems to be the way urban planners and developers design new residential and commercial areas. The north-south thorofare in my area has a bike lane for its entire length. The speed limit for cars is 40 mph, on a four-lane divided road. The main east-west road, the previously mentioned Slaughter Lane, has a bike lane for more than half the distance it travels across the city, but none in the last five miles or so on the west end. Why?
The problem is compounded by a lack of east-west arteries in town. Because so many suburban streets are built on curvy paths, there is often no parallel, less-traveled alternative to take. For instance, for me to take an alternative route to Slaughter, I would have had to go a mile farther north, not just a block or two.
So I guess I’m all for bike lanes. As bikes become a more common mode of transport, people will have to demand of their city officials more accommodation for bikes.